Rosebud ‘short-changed’ over ambulance cover

Share

A PARAMEDIC working on the southern peninsula says Rosebud is “being short-changed” over its prescribed 24-hour ambulance coverage.

The officer says it is unfair to residents that funding – “specifically provided to Ambulance Victoria by the state government for a second 24-hour ambulance resource in the Rosebud area – is likely never to be used” for that purpose.

The concerned paramedic, who asked not to be named “to protect my job”, said the vehicle designated to provide a 24-hour ambulance service for Rosebud was often 45 kilometres away transporting patients on the northern peninsula.

“When it finally is based in Rosebud in November its coverage is likely to be diluted severely, and not provide the second 24-hour resource as it was specifically funded,” he warned.

“It will not provide any extra overnight coverage and, in fact, there will be a reduction from the current overnight coverage across the entire peninsula.”

Ambulance Victoria regional manager Cath Anderson disputes the claims.

“The Rye ambulance is temporarily located in the Somerville area due to the current reconstruction of the Rosebud ambulance branch,” Ms Anderson said.

“It will continue to be a 24-hour resource when it relocates to the new Rosebud ambulance branch once renovations are completed in coming months.

“Ambulance Victoria utilises a real-time resource management model to see where all ambulances are at any given time and relocates ambulances throughout the day to ensure optimal coverage for the community.

“Therefore, while the Rye vehicle is temporarily commencing shifts in the Somerville area, it is moved to the southern peninsula as required to provide appropriate coverage.”

Ms Anderson said the service “continually reviews operational demand and resource coverage, and undertakes comprehensive modelling, to ensure it can continue to deliver optimal response and clinical care to the community”.

The paramedic said “management talk is just that — talk”.

“Word around Rosebud branch is that the Rye truck will stay 24-hours when it returns to the new Rosebud branch, but with the intention of converting it to a blended roster, which means losing the 24-hour night shift coverage as promised after a three-month review.

“It is a forgone conclusion that the southern peninsula will, indeed, lose the funded 24-hour coverage, with lip service and corporate speak used to cover up the changes.

“I assume that it is going to be 24 hours initially, but it is unfortunate that they have already decided a way to sneakily get it in anyway.”

The ambulance officer said the southern peninsula had an ageing demographic, proliferation of nursing homes and a many holiday visitors.

“Overnight ambulance coverage is often impacted by frequent inter-hospital transfers from Rosebud to Frankston. This often leaves the southern peninsula with reduced coverage leading to dangerously increased response times,” the officer said.

“Not providing a second 24 hour resource in Rosebud is a contravention of the stipulated funding directive.”

First published in the Southern Peninsula News – 25 August 2015

Share